AlaskaCare Wellness News | September 2018

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September 2018 | #72



Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for strong bones and may contribute to overall good health. Alaskans should select foods that are high in vitamin D, such as Alaska salmon, and should talk with their health care provider about vitamin D and the risks and benefits of supplementation. 


September is National Cholesterol Education Month 

Doctor and Patient Blood Drawn

Now is a good time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it is high. Children and adults—young and old can have high cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.


Tips to lower your cholesterol:
  • Low-fat and high-fiber food (eat more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains).

  • For adults, getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week. For those aged 6-17, getting 1 hour or more of physical activity each day.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Don't smoke or quit if you smoke.
To learn how to prevent high cholesterol and know what your cholesterol levels mean, click here.

The Teladoc is in!
Female Doctor On Phone

AlaskaCare Employees and their eligible dependents now have access to quality medical care to address minor health issues, via telephone or video, anytime, anywhere, with Teladoc. If you or a family member feels under the weather, Teladoc is just a click away and a general consult only costs $5.00!


2018 Coalition Health Fairs Update
PHC Logo

All locations for the 2018 Coalition Health Fairs have reached maximum capacity and registration is closed. If you missed the opportunity to attend one of the fairs, and you still need preventive labs or flu vaccines, please feel free to look for other free health fairs in your community or review your employee health plan to see which tests can be covered at 100% as part of your annual preventive benefit if provided by a network provider. If you have questions about preventive benefits or flu vaccines, please feel free to contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646.

The Importance of Musculoskeletal Health

Muscle Bone Skeleton

The musculoskeletal system deals with the support, stability, and movement to the body which is made up of the bones of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that supports and binds tissues and organs together. In addition to supporting the weight of the body, bones work together with muscles to maintain body position and to produce controlled, precise movements. Without the skeleton to pull against, contracting muscle fibers could not make us sit, stand, walk, or run.


Tips to keep the musculoskeletal system healthy

  1. Stay active
    Physical activity is perhaps the best thing one can do to maintain healthier joints. Research has found that people who exercise more have healthier joints as they age. Physical activity will strengthen the muscles that hold the joints together and help stabilize them so that they move the way in which they were intended.

  2. Don't overextend your joints
    Although being active is good for the joints, certain movements can lead to injuries. Generally, instant reflexes, including rapid direction changes or twisting, can cause joint damage. Be aware of your movements to keep joint trauma out of your life.

  3. Eat smart
    You should support your joint health with healthy foods as well. This will help protect bone structure, muscles, and cartilage. At the top of the list are dark leafy greens, winter squash, olive oil, citrus, and turkey. There are important nutrients in dark leafy greens that aid joint health including vitamins C, K, and A, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Turkey is a good source of lean protein that plays a critical role in muscle and cartilage repair. Citrus contains vitamin C, and many phytonutrients in addition to folic acid, potassium, calcium, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium and copper. These antioxidants fight against oxidation in the body, including joints, which is the primary cause of inflammation and aging.

  4. Be fit
    The musculoskeletal system carries the body, meaning that it maintains the structure against gravity. If you want your joints to stay healthy and seek the simplest solution, the best answer is to lose weight. The more weight you put on to your joints, the more pressure and stress there is on your joints which can translate to pain. Losing weight is the quickest way to alleviate joint pain and boost your joint health.

  5. Warm Up and Stretch
    Performing warm-up exercises even if you are not involved in strenuous physical activity can reduce the likelihood of muscle injury. Warm-up exercises ease your muscles into a physically active state by increasing blood flow and body temperature, potentially making your muscles and tendons suppler. Non-strenuous calisthenics, walking, and low-intensity jogging are some of the many ways you can warm up. It is also important to stretch your muscles gently daily and especially before strenuous exercise to reduce the possibility of muscle and tendon strains and improve your flexibility. Start your day with 5 to 10 minutes stretch to warm up your muscles and help prevent injuries.

Back to School = Time for a Backpack Safety Review

Kids With Backpacks

Heavy backpacks can increase a child’s risk of falling. Children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of weighty backpacks is a contributing factor.

 Heavy packs can cause a child to hyperextend, or arch, his or her back, or lean the head and trunk forward to compensate for the weight of the bag. Postures that stress the muscles in the neck and back, increase the risk of injury and fatigue. The natural curves in the middle and lower back can become distorted, which can cause irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage. A rounding of the shoulders could also result if a child is trying to compensate for a heavy load.


Look for the following to choose the right backpack:

  • a lightweight pack: get one that doesn't add a lot of weight to your child's load; for example, leather packs look cool, but they weigh more than canvas backpacks.
  • two wide, padded shoulder straps: straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders.
  • a padded back: it not only provides increased comfort but also protects kids from being poked by sharp objects or edges (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
  • a waist belt: this helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body.
  • multiple compartments: to help distribute the weight throughout the pack.

If you find that your child is struggling to get his backpack on or off, has back pain, must lean forward to carry his bag, or has numbness or weakness in the arms and legs, it is important to speak with your child's doctor.

LabCorp has joined the Aetna Network
Beginning January 1, 2019, LabCorp, a company that offers routine clinical laboratory collections, pediatric testing, and urine drug screens will be In-Network for members covered by the AlaskaCare Health Plan. LabCorp currently has locations in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Fairbanks.

Smoking Cessation Programs

Quit Line

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. The good news is that once you stop, your body starts healing right away. Carbon monoxide levels normalize in just 12 hours, and your risk for heart disease can drop significantly after just 12 months as a non-smoker.

Why wait until your next New Year’s resolution, when you can make a clean start today?

Call the Alaska Quit Line! It’s free. 

Fall Harvest Muffins

Recipe of the Month
Fall Harvest Muffins


One Arm Side Push Up

Exercise of the Month
One Arm Side Push Up

The one arm side push up works the biceps, triceps, and obliques.


Health Fact of the Month

Flu Shot

The flu isn't just a bad cold—it's highly contagious and can be serious. Get a flu shot. It's your best defense


Not sure if that cold is worth the trip? 
Call the Aetna Nurse line, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

                           Call (800) 556-1555